Now that we have committed to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, what will this journey actually look like? Many people often say that we need “unity,” but what does that even mean?
Here in Philippians, we see Paul writing to a congregation for several reasons. In verse two of both chapters listed here, though, we find a common Greek word: “phroneo” which means to “be of the same mind,” or “agree.” One of the issues he was addressing was a lack of unity between at least two members of the church. He expounds on what it takes to get to that place with one another in general (in Phil 2:3-4) and then gives the ultimate example of it being done by describing how Jesus did it (in Phil 2:5-8).
You see, at its worst, the world tells us to take care of ourselves if we want to be taken care of. At its best, a philanthropic world tells us to care about people equally. The Gospel, though, is radical, because it tells us that we should “consider others more significant than ourselves.” And it doesn’t just tell us that we should. Jesus set the example Himself for the way to real humility.
This is the mindset we have to have, according to Paul, in order to accomplish what he encouraged in the previous verses—the mind of Christ (verse 5). Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind….”
In other words, the only way we’ll be able to accomplish this task is to constantly renew our minds by reading the Word of God. The more we see Christ in His Word, the less we see the world’s viewpoint as our own. As we are transformed by the “washing of the water of the Word” (Eph 5:26), we begin to be able to follow in the footsteps of our radical Lord, who, “for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.” (Heb 12:2) If we are to take up our own cross to follow Christ (Matt 6:24), what parts of life are we willing to lay down for a friend in Christ? (John 15:13)